Still dogged by the Japanese spy ship, with one engine broken down and an inoperable crane making it impossible to launch their attack boats, Capt. Watson heads the Steve Irwin back to port in Melbourne for repairs. Along the way, the underpowered ship has to outrun a massive storm that has the crew banging into things below deck while Watson, who’s obviously been through storms like this before, is reciting sea-related poetry for the benefit of the cameras.
Once the skies clear, the seas calm and the fearful hours are over, the relieved volunteers are ready to party. Not so Capt. Watson, who tells them to wait until they are in port to break out the booze. They don’t listen and soon there are lots of drunken sailors below deck. Watson is apparently a sound sleeper as he heard none of the row, but in the morning when he finds that his orders have been ignored, he tells everyone that from that moment on the Steve Irwin is a dry ship and if anyone doesn’t like it, they can get off in port.
This leads to a mass exodus as soon as the ship docks in Melbourne. Fortunately, Watson has no shortage of volunteers (possibly drawn in by videos like the one above) and has no trouble finding replacements who, he says, “will be going out for the right reasons.” I wonder what the reasons were for the old crew, and I guess I always will since that was never made clear.
Kim, who works for Sea Shepherds, gets a proposal via phone call from her boyfriend, also an employee working at the headquarters in Friday, Washington. Her tearful response and the cheering crowds that are waiting on the dock to meet the ship provide the real emotion in another episode where there simply wasn’t much else going on.
When the estimate for repairs comes in, Watson and his new crew are floored by the $400,000 price. Cost of food and fuel to get the ship back on the waters has already been raised but the ship is drydocked until they can raise the money for the repairs. Fortunately, Watson has friends living in expensive places – including the band Red Hot Chili Peppers that donates a quarter of what they need – and some days later Watson sets out with a new crew. The ship is missing the helicopter, however, as the salt spray has done a lot of damage that must be corrected before it can fly again.
And of course, as soon as they arrive the Southern Ocean, they encounter that pesky spy ship again. They decide on a plan to board it and cripple its radar. More on that next week.
A couple of related thoughts: Here in Wisconsin, where I watch Whale Wars, an ad came on for the local Humane Society and I suddenly found myself worrying more about dogs and cats than whales. Good ad placement as worrying about one animal leads to worrying about them all, which leads, almost inevitably, to worrying about the planet as a whole. And just before I began writing this blog, I read an article at cnn.com discussing how the rising prosperity in China has increased the demand for shark’s fin soup to the point that the sharks are now endangered. Sharks are the sea’s top predators – after man – and their falling numbers will likely affect the entire ocean ecosystem. And in the far north where the Inuit have hunted whales for centuries by harpooning them and pulling them onto the ice, climate change is making ice thinner and the hunt far riskier.
There are so many of us, and we are so voracious. Will our bad behavior end in time?